Rockies catcher Brian Serven lined up for major-league debut

Catcher Brian Serven was called up and catcher Dom Nunez sent down before the Rockies hosted the Giants Tuesday night at Coors Field.

The roster moves, according to manager Bud Black, had two primary objectives.

First, the Rockies want to see what the 27-year-old Serven can do against major-leaguers. Second, they want to give Nunez more at-bats.

“His at-bats have not been a lot,” Black said, referring to the fact that Nunez has just 36 plate appearances in 12 games. “So I think we just felt, ‘Let’s get Dom playing.’”

Nunez, 27, is hitting .143 (4-for-28) with six walks, seven strikeouts and two RBIs this season. Officially, Nunez, who was serving as a backup to Elias Diaz, was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Serven is scheduled to make his major-league debut on Wednesday afternoon, unless, of course, he’s needed in a pinch during Tuesday night’s game.

“Brian had been playing and doing really well,” Black said. “Hopefully he can carry over his play to big-league games. We also have great reports from our minor league player development people (about his) defensive side.”

In 77 at-bats with the Isotopes, Serven slashed .273/.406/.506 with five home runs and 11 RBIs.

In Wednesday afternoon’s game, Serven will team with left-hander Kyle Freeland, whom he’s caught multiple times during spring training the last two years.

Serven was drafted by the Rockies in the fifth round of the 2016 draft out of Arizona State. He was told about his call-up by Isotopes manager Warren Schaeffer and hitting coach Jordan Pacheco while the trio was eating dinner in Salt Lake City on Monday night. The Isotopes began a series against the Bees on Tuesday.

“I was in shock immediately,” Serven said, recalling the emotional moment. “Then I called my parents and broke down a little bit after that.”

Black said Serven already has a solid working relationship with most of the Rockies’ pitchers, so he doesn’t think there will be a communication gap. The rookie catcher agreed.

“The last few years I’ve caught a lot of these guys during spring training,” he said. “I caught (German) Marquez this spring. I’ve caught Freeland a few times, and I’ve caught everybody in the bullpen. So I’m pretty familiar with all of them, so that’s a good feeling.”

Diaz’s slump. While Diaz has been getting the bulk of the playing time behind the plate, he hasn’t been producing with his bat.

He entered Tuesday’s game hitting .154 (1-for-65) with one home run over his last 18 games after hitting .345 (10-for-29) with one home run over his first eight games.

“Mechanically, there is a little bit of sort of a hard charge at the ball, there’s a hard move,” Black said, explaining Diaz’s slump. “It’s a byproduct of being aggressive and wanting to get a hit. It’s the same thing he fell into a trap (early) last year when he was trying too hard. A lot of times when you do that, especially in his case, his lower body sort of dives, instead of staying back on the ball.”

Diaz got off to a terrible start last year before getting hot and finishing the season with 18 home runs. He slashed .283/.346/.550 with 17 homers, 16 doubles, one triple, and 40 RBIs from June 1 through the end of the season.

Fifth starter. As expected, right-hander Antonio Senzatela was placed on the 15-day injured list Tuesday after suffering a strained lower back in Monday night’s game. With a day off Thursday, the Rockies can make it through the weekend series with the Mets with a four-man rotation.

Next week at Pittsburgh, however, the Rockies will need a fifth pitcher. The candidates are lefty Ty Blach and right-hander Ashton Goudeau, both long relievers, or right-handed Triple-A starter Ryan Feltner, who’s made one start with Colorado this season.

On Deck
Giants RHP Logan Webb (5-1, 3.48 ERA) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (1-4, 4.91)
1:10 p.m. Wednesday, Coors Field
Radio: 850 AM/94.1 FM

Freeland is trying to rebound from a poor start vs. Kansas City at Coors Field in which he gave up a career-high 12 hits that led to eight Kansas City runs in Colorado’s 14-10 loss. He’ll be making his 18th career start against the Giants, and he’s fared well against them, going 7-4 with a 3.94 ERA. He’s 5-2 against San Franciso at Coors Field with a 4.88 ERA.

Despite not having his best stuff, Webb pitched six innings of one-run ball in the Giants’ 8-2 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium last Friday. Webb told reporters he was disappointed with his performance after he walked three, hit a batter and got only five swinging strikes, while needing 95 pitches in six innings. In seven career appearances against Colorado (six starts), Webb is 4-1 with a 4.58 ERA. In four starts at Coors Field, he’s 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA.

Trending: Outfielder Charlie Blackmon entered Tuesday night’s game with 271 career doubles, having passed Dante Bichette (270) for the fourth-most doubles in franchise history by slugging a double on Monday night. Blackmon is six doubles shy of tying Carlos Gonzalez for third.

At issue: Colorado’s bullpen entered Tuesday night’s game with a 5.40 ERA, easily the worst in the majors.

Pitching probables
Thursday: Off
Friday: Mets RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-1, 3.73) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (1-3, 6.16), 6:40 p.m.

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